After 20 Years Making PlayStation Golf Games, Clap Hanz Wants a New Challenge

For over 20 years, Japanese studio Clap Hanz has been recognized for precisely one factor: making actually good PlayStation golf video games.

It began in 1998 with Everybody’s Golf 2, having taken over the sequence from Camelot (which might then go on to make all of Nintendo’s Mario Golf video games). The sequence would go on to span 4 generations of PlayStation consoles, in addition to the PSP, Vita, and PSVR. In all that point, Clap Hanz has not launched a single sport that wasn’t a part of that sequence, wasn’t golf, and wasn’t unique to Sony.

That is, till now. Earlier this month, Clap Hanz announced and simultaneously released its very first sport to interrupt most of these molds: Clap Hanz Golf. Though nonetheless a golf sport, Clap Hanz Golf shouldn’t be a a part of the Everybody’s Golf sequence, and as a substitute of being a PlayStation console sport, it is at present unique to Apple Arcade. It’s a large step for the studio in any case these years, and it is a transfer that CEO Masashi Muramori says he hopes will higher determine the studio as its personal entity to a world viewers.

“We wanted the global audience to know who Clap Hanz is, and what we’ve done in the past,” Muramori says in an interview with IGN. “By placing our title within the title, we thought it might be one of the best ways for players to acknowledge Clap Hanz.”

Muramori reassures me that the studio does nonetheless have a good relationship with Sony, however that the studio does wish to discover different choices sooner or later past its present and former partnerships.

“The last Everybody’s Golf title was released in 2019 for PlayStation VR, and there haven’t been any new announcements up to this point,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean the relationship is over. We still have a very good relationship with Sony. […] We don’t want to limit ourselves to Apple and Sony. Just for your reference, there is nothing set in stone as far as other partners for the time being. But we would like to pursue any other opportunities that would arise in the future.”

There are literally a lot of video games which can be within the planning [stage], and they don’t seem to be restricted to golf video games.

Clap Hanz Golf is not simply on the lookout for new companions and alternatives. Muramori says the studio can also be seeking to broaden its horizons past golf video games sooner or later. He hopes in one other 20 years that golf video games are nonetheless a pillar for the studio, however that the studio can also be in a position to set up different pillar titles “that showcase our abilities as a game developer.”

“There are actually a lot of games that are in the planning [stage], and they are not limited to golf games — all sorts of different genres,” Muramori says. “But realistically, we need to prioritize the ones that are most likely to succeed, so for that reason most of our games have continued to be golf games. But we always have the urge to develop other games as well.”

No matter its concepts for future tasks, it’s clear that the crew at Clap Hanz nonetheless loves making golf video games. Muramori has been engaged on Everybody’s Golf because the very starting, together with being credited as a programmer on the unique sport as a a part of Camelot. Now, on the head of the corporate, Muramori says he believes that it was because of Everybody’s Golf — and Sony particularly — that golf video games grew to become in style in any respect. And he is glad to proceed that custom.

“We do have to acknowledge that before Everybody’s Golf and Hot Shots Golf, golf games weren’t really that popular,” he says. “It appeared actually uninteresting, like a chess sport or Reversi sport. But because of Sony and their promotion crew, Everybody’s Golf and Hot Shotz Golf did obtain a lot of help from the players, and I believe that was one of many causes golf video games began to develop into in style.

We do should acknowledge that earlier than Everybody’s Golf and Hot Shots Golf, golf video games weren’t actually that in style.

“I think the appeal is that depending on what kind of natural environment you’re put in, whether it be how strong the wind is or whether you’re stuck in a bunker or things like this, the gamers simulate how to shoot the ball with what club, how strong, things like that. When they’re actually able to reproduce their simulation in the game, it feels good. So for Clap Hanz, that is the core appeal, and what makes golf games so much fun.”

For Clap Hanz, making a sport for Apple Arcade was about extra than simply breaking away from among the publishing and naming conventions they’d been hooked up to for twenty years. Muramori tells me that the crew was particularly within the prospects of bringing a golf sport to cell, the place a controller was not the default technique of enter and contact controls must be used as a substitute.

“If you’re familiar with [Everybody’s Golf], you will know that the controls are basically pushing the button three times,” Muramori says. “It’s primarily getting the cling of when to push the buttons. Once you get the cling of the timing, it actually is not that massive of a problem. So to be able to transcend that, Clap Hanz has taken benefit of recent know-how and new {hardware}, and the results of that’s Clap Hanz Golf.

“…In order for an intuitive control mechanism, we needed to step back and do something analogue rather than digital. From that standpoint, the fact that the slightest difference in where you touch or how you touch and how you flick on the touchscreen was something that was very interesting for Clap Hanz. So that was one of the reasons that we focused on iOS.”

We discovered that PGA 2K21 was one thing that relied much less on timing, in order that was one thing we actually went deep into.

User interface lead Shunsuke Takashima notes that whereas the crew does not have time to play a lot of different video games, for Clap Hanz Golf, they did look carefully at PGA 2K21 for inspiration. “We found that PGA 2K21 was something that relied less on timing, so that was something we really went deep into,” he says.

And lead programmer Toshiyuki Kuwabara provides that growing for iOS with this aim in thoughts offered a specific problem in that there have been so many fashions of iPhones that the sport wanted to help, in addition to Mac and Apple TV.

“Across all these devices, players get to choose to either use the touchscreen or use gamepads or use a track controller, so lots of different control mechanisms actually,” Kuwabara says. “In doing that, we needed to make sure that all the devices had the same difficulty, so that using a certain device wouldn’t give certain players advantages over other devices. That was something we were really careful to make sure everybody had a fair chance.”

Aside from the controls, Muramori tells me that there have been two causes for bringing a sport to Apple Arcade particularly. One was that Apple Arcade’s subscription mannequin meant they would not should implement loot box-style monetization, and will design a sport equally to how that they had previously. Another purpose was that Apple reached out to Clap Hanz at an opportune time — with its ambitions to make one thing new already in place, the studio was within the strategy of on the lookout for outdoors companions to work with on the time.

The Clap Hanz crew is raring for gamers to share of their new adventures. Lead artist Keisuke Futami says that he hopes gamers will benefit from the forged of characters and difficult programs. The different three emphasize their pleasure in regards to the controls once more: Takashima says he believes what they’ve achieved with Clap Hanz Golf is “just as good, if not better” than the normal Everybody’s Golf controls. Kuwabara mentions the identical, including that he hopes gamers will persist even when the distinction from the crew’s former video games appears difficult at first.

Hopefully Clap Hanz Golf on Apple Arcade will probably be a new begin…as a new sport franchise we hope to have the ability to construct on.

Muramori concludes that he feels due to the management adjustments, Clap Hanz Golf is nearer to taking part in actual golf than the crew has ever gotten earlier than.

“Hopefully Clap Hanz Golf on Apple Arcade will be a new start,” he says. “Not in the sense that we are cutting ties with Sony, but as a new game franchise we hope to be able to build on, so that Clap Hanz Golf becomes something that gamers love to play.”

After 20 years of creating one type of sport, Clap Hanz Golf doesn’t simply really feel like a subsequent step; it feels concurrently like a first step in the direction of one thing solely new.

Rebekah Valentine is a information reporter for IGN. You can discover her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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